What is the Hippokrates Exchange ?
The Hippokrates Exchange is an exchange programme for medical doctors specialising in Family Medicine/General Practice and junior Family Doctors/General Practitioners (within 5 years of completing specialty training). The programme is supported by WONCA Europe and by the European Academy of Teachers in General Practice (EURACT).
The aim of Hippokrates is to encourage exchange and mobility among young doctors in the course of their professional formation as General Practitioners; thus providing a broader perspective to the concepts of Family Medicine at both professional and personal levels.
Participants of the programme acquire an insight into the context of General Practice in the primary healthcare system of other European countries either by hosting an exchange participant or visiting a GP practice in a another country. Through this they gain knowledge that will inspire them to undertake an active part in the development of Family Medicine at all levels.
Furthermore the programme enhances the collaboration among national colleges of Family Medicine and the recruitment of young professionals to these.
At the individual level the acquisitions are numerous; an international experience in a vocational setting, improving knowledge and skills, inspirational introduction to methods of professional development for lifelong learning, improving language skills, creating new friendships.
The duration of an Exchange is normally two weeks, in some cases 1 week is acceptable. During this time the visitor will obtain an introduction to the aspects and the role of Family Medicine in the respective country by shadowing all activities of the Host Practice. The visitor should also meet, follow and exchange views with the local trainees specialising in Family Medicine and will be encouraged to gain insight into local resources and quality improvement activities as well as local healthcare structures.
Hippokrates was launched under the auspices of EURACT by Dr Per Kallestrup (Denmark) in the year 2000 at the 6th European Conference on General Practice & Family Doctors (WONCA Europe) in Vienna, Austria.
In the pilot phase of the programme there were 5 participating countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom
Since its inception new participating countries have joined and more are still joining as the programme expands. Currently the programme offers 25 participating National Exchange Co-ordinators within Europe (see 'Membership' section).
National Exchange Co-ordinators are appointed by the national Vasco da Gama Movement Council Representative, who in turn is selected through the country's national college of family medicine / general practice.
In the participating countries a number of General Practitioners and their Practices have been selected to be Host Practices. These practices are the cornerstones of the programme inviting visiting Medical Doctors specialising in Family Medicine from the other participating countries.
Becoming a Host
A Host can be a General Practitioner with educational experience who would like to host an international GP Trainee or Junior GP (< 5 years of specialisation) in their GP practice.
Hosts should ensure that they have approval of other members of the GP practice / clinic who will be affected by an exchange.
Visitors are strongly encouraged to undertake bilateral exchanges, therefore trainees may wish to offer their practice as a host practice. In order to do so the trainee needs to agree with their trainer that the trainer will act as the principle host for the exchange.
In order to upload your GP practice information to the VdGM website:
Register on the VdGM website, by choosing 'My Account' from the Main Menu.
Write a short description of your practice
Contact your National Exchange Co-ordinator who will upload your practice info on the website. Your practice will be then available, and potential visitors will contact either you or your National Exchange Co-ordiantor.
It may be helpful to specify what dates you are able to host and the number of times you can host in the following 12 months.
If you are offering to host as you would like to visit a specific country in return please specify this.
Hosts have no obligation to host all those who express an interest, however it is expected you respond to initial queries within 14 days.
Please note that depending on national arrangements in some countries queries will pass through National Exchange Co-ordinator/Team before reaching the host practice.
Apply to Be a Visitor
In the 'Participating Countries' section you will find an overview of some of the participating countries.
Once you have selected the country you would like to visit please register on the VdGM website. Once you register you will then have access to the 'Hippokrates Dashboard' section of the website. It is currently free to register. To register please click here.
Under the 'Hippokrates Dashboard' section choose the 'Host Practices' page where you will find a list of hosting practices for some of the countries. If the country you want to visit does not have any host practices listed, please contact the National Exchange Coordinator directly, whose contact details are in the 'Membership' section.
Once you have found the practice you would like to visit, you can apply on line, filling out the given form. Once they have expressed an interest in progressing with the exchange please use the templates in the 'Hippokrates Templates' section. These templates MUST be used in the planning stages BEFORE the exchange and AFTER the exchange according to the timetable specified, otherwise the exchange will not be eligible under the Hippokrates Exchange Programme.
You MUST contact your own National Exchange Coordinator and the Host's National Exchange coordinator to let them know that you are planning to take part on an exchange once you have completed the 'Learning Objectives' and 'Educational Programme' templates. You can find their contact details under the 'Membership' section.